A 17th / 18th centry West Indian  Turbo shell and mother of pearl veneered powder flask Gujarat
Lot 191
A 17th / 18th century West Indian Turbo shell and mother of pearl veneered powder flask Gujarat
£2,500 - 3,500
US$ 4,200 - 5,900
withdrawn
Lot Details
A 17th / 18th century West Indian Turbo shell and mother of pearl veneered powder flask
Gujarat
the upper section applied with a stylised border forming a series of cartouches, the top veneered with a shaped star motif outlined in red lac, with a knopped finial stopper, mounted on a modern metal stand, the shell 12cm high

Footnotes

  • The Turbo snail shell fitted many of the criteria of the Wunderkammer object, being rare, exotic, and exquisitely beautiful. Turbo snails were found in the Indian and Pacific oceans and their shells were collected as works of art in Europe as early as 1530 and throughout the 17th and 18th centuries. The Gujarat region of Indian was a centre for the export of furniture and works of art to Europe and the mother of pearl veneer and red lac decoration visible in the present lot is typical of works from this region. The large size, natural shimmering surface and impermeable nature of the Turbo shell made it a perfect vessel for use as a powder flask. Powder flasks stored gun powder (before the invention of the modern bullet) and were prized and important objects in their own right; typically highly decorated or of expensive material such as ivory. A powder flask modelled from such a rare and expensive material would have inspired wonder in the viewer as well as fulfilling an important function.

    A similar example was sold at Christies, London, December 7 2006, lot 24, £7,800.

Saleroom notices

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Activities
Contacts
  1. Rachael Osborn-Howard
    Specialist - European Sculpture and Works of Art
    Bonhams
    Work
    101 New Bond Street
    London, W1S 1SR
    United Kingdom
    Work +44 208 963 2815
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